Epic new book on Harrogate Festival's history

Malcolm Neesam with his epic new book at HarrogatesThe Club. (1807246AM1)
Malcolm Neesam with his epic new book at HarrogatesThe Club. (1807246AM1)

The public are being invited to own their own piece of Harrogate International Festivals’ history with the publication of an epic, massively researched new history.

A richly detailed new book, Music Over The Waters, the latest work by Harrogate’s foremost historian Malcolm Neesam, explores the role that music has played in the town’s history, beginning in the 18th century, ending with the 50th anniversary of Harrogate International Festivals in 2016.

It will be unveiled for the first time tonight, Thursday, at a glittering launch event at Harrogate's historic Royal Hall, a venue which figures strongly in its 500, intensely researched, pages.

Commissioned to celebrate the anniversary, the new book examines the town’s musical culture and how music at Harrogate Spa led to the creation of Harrogate International Festivals and left a rich, musical legacy in the town.

Malcolm said: “My aim with the book is to tell the story of Harrogate International Festivals from the birth in 1966 and to explain how the festival came into being.
“I had to examine why previous attempts to create a festival had failed, and to tell the story of music in Harrogate before the successful attempt of 1966. Once created, the festivals had an immense influence on the town’s other musical life, which is why the book became so large.”

Malcolm’s weighty book offers a richly detailed history and celebration of music in the town full of entertaining stories and personalities.

The book is peppered with famous names whose paths have crossed with Harrogate’s, including Holst, The Beatles and Amy Winehouse.

The book also finds space for the story of local rock music and features the likes of Wally, DJ Trev, North Yorkshire Hardcore punk promoters, DJ Rory Hoy, The Blues Bar, the UK Foo Fighters and Charm events organised by the Harrogate Advertiser’s Graham Chalmers.

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